We have just released the second vignette, "Suspect". Steam users will no doubt already have seen the update. The Humble builds should be updated soonish too.
To recap: Vignettes are short mini-episodes intended to fill in the gaps between the release of the remaining acts. Their purpose is to flesh out the world outside of the protagonist's story a bit, and to add a bit of flavour.
In this release we also updated the version of Unity3D to a more recent one. This introduced a few bugs that we hopefully fixed. As always, if you find anything, let us know!
I have taken all of next week off the day job with the intent to wrap up development of Act 1. If all goes well it should be done within the next day or two already, and following some testing it'll go out to backers and pre-orderers shortly after. Then I plan to get the Steam release done and dusted. Yay? No pressure... gulp. It's not the easiest thing in the world to stay motivated/energised while working a day job with a monster commute twice a day. It's amazing how much we managed to accomplish during those first two backer-funded months, versus how slow it went the months afterwards. On the other hand, during winter time, my "productivity" usually looks like this (there are three on me right now):
Oh hmmm, you know in Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader keeps changing the deal with Lando Calrissian? Done some thinking about pricing and release. It's uncommon for episodic games to sell on a per episode basis. So it has been decided (lest there be an outcry too loud to ignore) that we'll be lowering the price that it would have cost for all three episodes, but dropping the ability to buy per episode. In addition, we'll make sure that all backers and pre-orders will now be getting the full three episodes, without having to pitch in a penny extra.
With the release so close I'm starting to wonder/worry about other stuff, like how the game will be received and how to accurately describe it. I don't consider it to be anything particulary new/original, yet none of the genres I attribute to it seem to fit right. At the heart of it, it's a hypertext game, but with fancy painted art, effects and 3D graphics. "Twine game with moving pictures" is not a good genre description though, so I'll stick to "first person point and click adventure". The type of game that inspired it are slideshow-style titles in the vein of Dark Fall: The Journal and a hidden object game called Drawn: Trail of Shadows but what we ended up with is not quite like either of those.
Length is another thing on my mind. I have not the slightest idea how long this will take to play through. I know how long it takes me to play through it, but as I have learned with the demo it varies a lot between different people. I have seen people play through the demo in anything from 15 to 30 minutes. So ok, let's compare.
Full game: 30
Full game: 28
What does that tell us? Absolutely nothing! Getting back to it then...
- Jaco G
It finally happened, we squeezed through the crowd and managed to get Greenlit on Steam. For those who backed our Indiegogo and who pre-ordered through our Humble widget, this means you will all get Steam keys in addition to the Humble DRM-free keys. In general we would like anyone who owns the game to be able to play it wherever they want, so if we ever do an Android or console (heh, no) port, we'd like to try and get keys to existing customers for that too. If stats interest you, here's more or less what they looked like on the final day.
The game is 99% content-complete now, with work beginning on second-pass writing and final polish. Not going to try and estimate a time since I obviously suck at that, but needless to say we would like it to be soon. Hang in there just a little while longer!
Hey there! Guess who sucks at estimating development time... that's right, all developers. Now guess who's the best at sucking at estimating development time... yup, me!! What do I win? Oh, ok, fine
Jokes aside, we're approaching the end of act 1 development. Artwork is mostly done. Areas are mostly built. Writing and coding are both nearly almost ready. There's likely to be some time devoted to tweaking the writing to eliminate issues with flow and consistency, and some proper sound engineering, but all 'n all we're on track for a (soonish) release. Backers and preorder-ers first, everyone else soon after.
It has occurred to me that since all you have been exposed to thus far is the demo, you don't have a clear sense of the content of the game. Act 1 of Broken Age was just released, and while generally well received (I loved it), some seem to have had different expectations, and I've seen some complaints about length/difficulty.
The Maker's Eden walks a line somewhere between adventure game and visual novel. The game does have puzzles, but the overall idea is to keep the flow as friction-free as possible. Puzzles are easy, progression is easy, but the expectation from our side is that players will be investing in the story, setting and atmosphere that we are crafting out of this. There's also very little padding. With a traditional third person point & click adventure, you click somewhere and the character will walk across the screen to interact with whatever you clicked on. TME's interactions are instantaneous, with the time taken up mostly being you reading the prose that follows the interaction. Someone who is a really fast reader will go through the story quicker than a slow reader. And in theory, someone who reads none of it can blaze through the whole thing in a few minutes. The latter person though will get nothing out of the game.
Act 1 is also structured much like a traditional first act, serving as a process of discovery and introduction, while still adequately self-contained. Think of the first Matrix film. It ended with a revelation, but nothing resolved, yet it did not need the sequels to be of value (some might argue the sequels killed it, hope we do a bit better than that). Act 2 opens up a bit with more freedom to move around the city.
Let's ask Molly, our favourite flying taxi driver, when the game will be out:
Yaaaaaay! (gets back to work)
Before I forget, since we're so close to release, now is a great time to start our big Steam Greenlight push. We're at about 80% to the top 100. If you can spread the word and help us score a few votes, that'd be much appreciated. I believe GL will be phased out soon, but ideally we'd like to get on Steam before then. Vote at: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=150210424